Monday, May 31, 2010

Want More Citrus?

Alas, it was a short citrus series, but I hope you enjoyed the recipes! I've got two more suggestions for you to have your next meal transport you from the city to the tropics.

My sister mailed me a copy of "The Tropical Vegan Kitchen", by Donna Klein. Klein has published a number of vegan cookbooks with really simple recipes (Vegan Italiano and Supermarket Vegan among them), all with a tropical twist. Great inspiration for summer cooking, especially with citrus!

And today, as I perused the freezer section of my local supermarket for post Memorial Day veggie burgers, I found the most awesome summer icy treat- Ciao Bella Blood Orange sorbet bar. O.M.G. At 60 calories with no fat and cholesterol, I'll take these sweet, vegan-friendly bars over a soft-serve cone any day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lemony Fingerling Potatoes... and Lemon Chik'n

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade... or better yet, lemon marinade! I don't like to overload my meals with just one flavor, but since I had the lemons to spare, I put 'em to good use! Come May, the usual earthy flavors that I use to season potatoes in the winter, like sage, get packed up just like winter sweaters, and out come the lemon and basil.

For a small bag of fingerling potatoes (I love how they crisp like hand cut fries!), I used half a lemon for the marinade; I used the other lemon half to marinate my fave veggie chik'n, Quorn, before putting it on the grill. If your potato wedges aren't too thick, they will cook quickly on the grill. And that grapefruit-mint green bean salad from last post? Yup, I put those on the grill too and made a simple, citrus-y weeknight dinner.

The Whats:

* 1.5 lbs. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
* 2 Quorn veggie chk'n patties, defrosted
* 1 large lemon, halved
* 8 large basil leaves, chopped
* 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* salt and pepper to taste

The Hows:

1) In a large mixing bowl, add fingerling potatoes, basil, salt & pepper, 3 tbsp. of the olive oil , and the juice of half of the lemon; toss until potatoes are evenly coated. Either roast at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp, or cook on barbeque grill on high until crisp on outside.

2) As potatoes cook, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add chik'n patties to the pan, squeeze juice from remaining lemon half into the pan, add salt and pepper and toss to coat- for some Mediterranean flavor, add some oregano to the mix. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until chik'n is browned and edges are crisp. Alternatively, marinate chik'n with lemon and seasonings for half an hour in a large mixing bowl; cook on barbeque grill on high until crisp on outside.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Green Bean, Asparagus & Fennel with Grapefruit-Mint Dressing

Next in the citrus series: grapefruit. No matter how much your mouth puckers while you drink the juice, it's still an undeniably fresh, antioxidant and vitamin C-packed fruit to cook with. Let's do this fruit some justice and give it a better association than that silly diet of the same name.

For this light side salad, I chose to use grapefruit juice for a dressing, but if you'd prefer to pucker with your meal, you can make grapefruit slices a part of the salad. These veggies would also go great on the grill... stay tuned for the next blog post!

The Whats:

* 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
* 1 lb. thin asparagus, ends trimmed
* 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
* 1/4 cup grapefruit juice (I like red grapefruit!)
* 3 tbsp. olive oil
* about 12 mint leaves, finely chopped
* 1/4 tsp. white pepper

The Hows:

1) Place veggies in a large mixing bowl. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, mint, and white pepper. Pour dressing over veggies and toss to coat. You can serve as is, or marinate the veggies for one hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bulgogi Seitan with Garlicky Bok Choy

With Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, just around the corner, I'm devoting my next few recipe posts to the essence of summer food- citrus! Citrus perks up any dish, whether you're using a fruit based marinade, cutting up fruit slices into salads, or grilling fruit the way you would a veggie burger.

Since bulgogi- a Japanese dish of thin, marinated steak slices- is not a traditionally veg dish to begin with, I decided to continue shaking things up by adding a citrus element to the marinade. When hasn't a splash of orange juice perked up any dish? Though one would normally cook their bulgogi strips over a little table grill at a Japanese BBQ, super thin slices of seitan probably would not hold up as well- I opted to lightly pan sear them to not only maintain their sweet and savory flavor, but to avoid burning the seitan and of course not have it slip through the grill. If you reserve the extra marinade, you can add it to some sauteed bok choy and noodles, as I have, but you can use your fave veggie instead!

Happy grilling... uh, pan searing! 

The Whats:

* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 2 tbsp. sesame oil
* 1 tsp. garlic powder
* 2 tsp. brown sugar
* 8 oz. pkg. seitan strips, very thinly sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, halved and crushed
* 5 tbsp. olive oil* 2 bunches bok choy, chopped
* 4 oz. buckwheat soba noodles

The Hows:

1) Using paper towels, squeeze excess moisture from seitan strips. Allow strips to dry on a clean towel.

2) While strips dry, whisk together soy sauce, water, orange juice, garlic powder, and sugar in a small bowl. Place seitan strips in a gallon sized baggie; cover with 3/4 of the marinade. Seal bag and shake to coat. Allow seitan to marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

3) Heat 3 tbsp. of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, sear seitan until just golden and edges are crisp, about a minute; flip seitan and cook opposite side until just golden. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towels.

4) When seitan is finished cooking, reduce heat to medium, and add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes. Add the bok choy to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until softened but still crisp. As bok choy cooks, prepare the soba noodles according to package directions; after draining and rinsing, mix the remaining marinade into the noodles. Place the cooked noodles on a plate and top with bok choy and bulgogi seitan. Serves 2.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sweet Israeli Couscous with Tart Cherries and Cashews

There's a first time for everything!

As silly as it sounds, I've never cooked Israeli couscous before, and now that I have, I can't imagine why I waited so long- texture-wise, this reminds me more of pasta than it does of typical couscous! Which might be all the more reason why I'm now a fan. Like many other grain dishes, preparation is relatively simple- two parts liquid for each part grain and cook until tender and fluffy.

With dried cherries and cashews in my cabinets, I thought I'd create a sweet couscous instead of a typical herb-y or vegetable-y one. To add a little heat to the dish, I sliced some peppadew peppers (which also make great stuffed appetizers!) and let the sweet & spicy flavors battle it out. I'm normally a fan of spicy, but in this case, it's an even draw.

The Whats:

* 1 cup dried Israeli couscous
* 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
* 1 cup water
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tbsp. rose water (optional)
* 1 tsp. nutmeg
* pinch of salt
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1/2 cup finely chopped dried tart cherries
* 1/2 cup finely chopped cashews (almonds would be great as well!)
* 2 tsp. agave nectar
* about 6 peppadew peppers, sliced into strips

The Hows:

1) In a small skillet,  heat one tbsp. of the olive oil. Add the cherries and cashews to the pan; add agave nectar and mix until cashews and cherries are evenly coated. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cashews have slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, bring water and veggie broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and the bay leaf and reduce heat to low; cover and cook until couscous is tender and liquid has absorbed,about 10 minutes.

3) Stir in remaining olive oil, rose water, nutmeg, salt, and the cherry-cashew mixture. Add the peppadew peppers into the couscous, or use as garnish. Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side.

Have extra cashew-cherry mix? If you've already bought a container of peppadews, might I suggest:

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Feature! Recipe Archive

Just wanted to give you all a heads up that I've got a new page on this blog that I probably waited longer than I should've to put up. Instead of just using the Google search function on The Friendly Veg homepage to find past recipes, you can now search through the Recipe Archive page, where every recipe that I've devised is listed by course, and which are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

I hope this is helpful! I'm also working on a Veggie Resources page and I hope to bring that to you in the next few weeks. As always, if you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them- shoot an email to with your thoughts!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Veggie Pride Parade

 Okay, so clearly I missed the parade. But I was not going to miss the demos in Union Square North!

It was a beautiful day for the third annual Veggie Pride Parade, and the vegetarians, vegans, and freegans came out... because of course there was free food to be sampled too. I missed some sort of vegetable bread (to the chunky beotch stuffing a vegan brownie in her mouth while shoving past me to get the last piece of bread, I hope you're reading this!), but there were other goodies to try.

The V Spot, the Brooklyn based restaurant and the creator of many of the savory vegan Latin packaged goodies you'll see in health food stores, was on hand to share to their seitan empanadas with fresh salsa. Bursting with fresh cilantro and spicy peppers, I could've eaten a dozen of these, but alas, I was not about to wait in line again. Hit up their website for a list of where to buy their tasty morsels.

Whole Earth Bakery tempted the crowds with decadent vegan desserts. I sampled their vegan rice crispie treat covered in chocolate- dripping with agave nectar and thick chocolate, it was so unbelievably rich that I couldn't finish it! Sigh, perfection.

With performers singing songs about animals, random parade attendees giving testimony as to when and how they went vegetarian or vegan, costumed veggies taking pictures with children, various petitioners obtaining signatures, vegan cooking schools with their class listings, or OrganicAthletes offering sports nutrition info, there was something new to see and learn throughout the entire north end of the park. I hope you got the chance to make it out! With the great event and the great crowd (minus Greedy Bread-Thievin' Vegan of course), I definitely felt proud to be reppin' vegetarians today! Go veg!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tacos, Uptown!

Mexican joints can be a gamble in NYC- some places are create authentically south of the border plates; others just produce nasty messes of greasy cheese and tortillas. I managed to get lucky not once, but twice in the past two days with two Mexican places just blocks from each other! So here is a short blog post shouting out these two restos in the Upper West Side / Morningside Heights vicinity.

The honey brought home dinner on Friday night from Taqueria y Fonda on Amsterdam Avenue between 107th and 108th. It was a bit of a hole in wall, he said, but since everyone ordering takeout was Latino, he figured it had to be good. And he was right! I enjoyed a cactus taco and a vegetable quesadilla- and to my delight, it wasn't the typical quesadilla stuffed with onions and lettuce and dubbed "a vegetable quesadilla." It was filled with grilled broccoli, carrots, spinach, green and red peppers, tomatoes, onions, and just a little bit of queso fresco. Even more enticing, it was topping with a fresh guacamole that was barely salted, just the way I like it. Perfect!

After a soccer game on this sunny Saturday afternoon, my pals and I desperately needed some refueling. And it was all too convenient that Noche Mexicana was located across the street, on the corner of 101st and Amsterdam Avenue, and that it came recommended from a friend. They were very generous with their chips and spicy red and green dipping sauces, and their entree sizes were quite generous as well. They had the usual vegetarian options- a vegetable quesadilla, burrito, enchilada, and tacos- and I chose a pumpkin flower quesadilla. Though a bit more cheese than I would have liked, I enjoyed the sauteed pumpkin flowers, which I'd never tried before, and they were like a heartier version of zucchini flowers. I also ended up dipping some of my quesadilla into my friend's bowl of mole`, because I can never resist a good mole`, and even though it didn't quite go with my dish, it was one of the best moles I ever tasted!

Ah, doesn't it feel good to get lucky over the weekend? 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Pride Weekend!

Veggie Pride, that is! If you're in the NYC area, be sure to check out the Veggie Prom tonight in Brooklyn, and the annual Veggie Pride Parade in the West Village on Sunday.

I'm hoping to get to the Veggie Pride Parade on Sunday, so hopefully I'll have some pictures to post for you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe and Marinated Artichokes

I've been on a huge broccoli rabe kick lately- for more than just the vitamins A, C, and K and it's potassium and iron. I actually really enjoy the slight bitterness that turns some people off from the greens. I've been buying containers of steamed broccoli rabe at the buffet in my local grocery store, and ordering it at restaurants (Mario Batali's restos serve chopped broccoli rabe with chili peppers and ricotta salata- perfection!), and of course, making it at home- this is just one of many ways you could prepare broccoli rabe! I decided to leave the stalks and leaves long- though you can chop yours if you prefer- and serve with long pappardelle pasta. I used marinated artichokes to balance out the bitterness of the rabe, but you could also use sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red pepper strips. This will make a light, spring supper for 4

The Whats:

* 1 pkg. fresh pappardelle
* 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
* 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
* 5 marinated artichokes, chopped
* 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano (or your fave grating cheese), shredded

The Hows:

1) In a large skillet, bring vegetable stock to a boil; reduce to a simmer, add garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe by the handful, slowly adding as leaves are reduced and stalks are slightly softened, cooking for about 8 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and olive oil, if desired, for flavor.

2) As broccoli rabe cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pappardelle for 3 to 5 minutes until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta.

3) Add cooked pasta and chopped artichokes to the skillet, and toss to mix. Top with parmigiano reggiano and serve hot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Limelight Marketplace

I think the recent revamping of the original den of sin can be summed up as so: you probably paid way too much money to buy booze and drugs at the nightlife institution Limelight, and you'll continue to pay way too much for clothing, food, soaps, candy, and bags at the new Limelight Marketplace.

Limelight Marketplace, which opened its doors to the public this past weekend, is still in the planning stages- while a number of small shop stalls are open, their restaurant offerings (not traveling to Brooklyn for Grimaldi's? Awesome!) won't be open for another few weeks. When I visited today, I skipped past the boutique stalls and went straight back to the gourmet section. I wasn't expecting their marketplace to be anything like Chelsea Market or the like, but it definitely still has some expanding to do. In the Mediterranean gourmet supply in the back, you will find a bread baker (though, as I was told, the kitchen is still being built, so their breads are supplied by Tom Cat Bakery in LIC), various imported olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and tapenades, fresh pasta, and a cheese counter. The cheese section at my nearby Amish Market is much more impressive, but I'll give Limelight the benefit of the doubt that they'll be expanding the section soon. I know olive oil isn't cheap, so that particular product isn't the best gauge, but when I saw the markup on a bag of Trahanas (a sour Greek pasta soup) that I know you can get for just a couple bucks at Astoria's Titan Market, I knew that I would not be shopping here if I ever wanted reasonably priced goodies.

Same goes for their sweets section- with cupcakes from the Cupcake Stop Truck, chocolates from Mariebelle's, gelato from Baci, and various goodies from Butterfly Bakeshop, I figured I'd treat myself to an inexpensive treat that was not my usual Cupcake Stop cupcake, though they are pretty damn good cupcakes. I settled on a caramel sea salt brownie bite from Mari's, and though it was absolutely delish, I was a bit peeved that all of 3 bites would cost me $2.50. Ouch, again!

I commiserated with another woman who was taking photos of the place and recalling drunk stories of old. Though Limelight Marketplace is a lovely setting and is probably worth visiting for that reason, I'll leave the shopping for the European tourists with plenty of Euros to spend (though I suppose that's questionable with the current economic situation); I'll stick with specialty shops in my home borough of Queens where I know imported goodies won't break my bank!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I finally got a chance last week to visit the newly opened branch of Otarian cafe in Midtown. A London transplant, Otarian is touting itself as the first resto in NYC to effectively reduce its carbon footprint, both with cuisine and with restaurant design- and if you visit the cafe or their website, you'll see carefully calcuated comparisons of lamb biriyani versus vegetable biriyani, for example, and the kilograms of carbon that you're saving by going veg.

Gotta say, that alone is pretty cool- it's nice to have numbers to quantify your ethical eating choices!

The past week being Cinco de Mayo and all, I decided to sample the Otarian tacos- and I was impressed!  I was served two crispy tacos with a vegetable and chickpea chili, topped with lettuce (as you can see, A LOT of it), guacamole, sour cream, and reduced fat cheddar. I forgot to ask if they could hold the cheese, but luckily, they didn't overwhelm the tacos with shredded cheese- as much as I love cheese, there is such a thing as too much. The chili was wonderfully zesty, not too saucy (my crispy taco shells held up just fine!), and was thoroughly filling- I was satisfied with just the two tacos.

I couldn't help it, but I started comparing Chipotle tacos with Otarian tacos- with only two tacos, you get a more filling, rounded-out meal, minus the giant scoop of rice and the sky-high calorie counts. Otarian's taco dish comes out to 420 calories- about a third less than a Chipotle meal- and for you calorie counters reading this, even less if you scrap the sour cream and cheese (I'm not sure why these are an automatic addition to the tacos- I'd much rather have chopped tomatoes or salsa on mine!).

And, because anyone who reads this blog knows my obsession with sweet potato fries, I had to try their sweet potato chiplets- little squares of sweet potatoes fried with a zesty batter. Okay, so frying them negates the health factor of my lunch, but damn, they were good, and I loved that they were bite-sized! I've taken the bait, and I'll easily be lured to Otarian again, but only when I have extra lunch money to spend- $11 for vegetarian fast food is steep!

Otarian, 947 8th Avenue @ W. 56th Street, 212-489-3270

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yay, more for Meatless Mondays!

Meatless Monday, for those of you who might not know, is part of a goal to reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet. You might not be vegetarian or vegan, but I'll bet almost everyone eats a meal without meat once per week, without even thinking in terms of "I need to eat vegetarian once a week."

As I've reported in the past, Dovetail on the Upper West Side is part of this initiative, serving up a vegetarian tasting menu at their restaurant on Mondays. Now, if you want to stay downtown on Monday night, Mario Batali's 14 restaurants will be instituting Meatless Mondays and offering several vegetarian dishes at each resto. I know I'm super excited to hear this, as Lupa and Otto are among my favorite restaurants! Kudos Mr. Batali!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Refried Chipotle Black Beans

It was an hour wait for Dos Caminos, Blockheads, Zarela's, and Mama Mexico, just a few of the fun Mexican restos in Midtown East. And though last year, I sipped my awesome $3 Blockheads margarita amidst the crowd spilling out of the place and onto the street, I wasn't having it this year. What's a girl to do? Make one of my favorite "Oh crap, I gotta sober up!" snacks at home!

Sure, refried beans are made from pinto beans and cooked in fat, but I'm taking a more flavorful approach to the traditional side dish. I used black beans here, and because I take "the more, the merrier!" approach to spices, I chopped up half a container of canned chipotle peppers- if you prefer to not set your mouth on fire, you can obviously use less. For ease and for some extra flavor, I used the canned kind in adobo sauce; sometimes I'll drain and rinse the peppers off, however, if I'm cooking for my sodium-sensitive honey. Throw some cilantro on top of the beans, serve with some warm tortilla chips, and of course, a margarita. Or a Dos Equis. Or a Corona. Or a Modelo. I'm not picky with Mexican beer.

The Whats:

* 3 tbsp. olive oil
* 2 cans low sodium black beans (I like to drain & rinse one can of beans, and leave the bean juice in the other)
* 1 small red onion, chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 can smoked chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
* optional- sprig of fresh cilantro

The Hows:

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat; cook onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly softened.

2) As onions and garlic cook, mash beans in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add mashed beans to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in chopped chipotles, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until bean mixture has thickened and no liquid remains. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Food Reads

Thought I'd share some interesting reading material from this past week with you all!

Ever want to roll your eyes at some overly descriptive menu items? (i.e. would I ever notice the difference between lemon and Meyer lemon unless you spelled it out for me?) Is it over-marketing those ingredients or keeping the diner informed? NPR explores this idea.

According to a recent piece in Foreign Policy, slow food is not the way of the future. Political scientist Robert Paarlberg argues that in order to feed the world's hungry, food producers will have to resort to mass farming methods like cheap fertilizer and producing crops that can withstand travel; most rural countries have those local, organic systems that we romanticize already in place, and people are still going hungry. Interesting argument, and definitely a great topic of debate!

And with the recent James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony, dubbed the Oscars of the food world, I've got some more reading to do- articles from the winners in their Food Journalism categories. I've got the winners list and the winning articles here- I'm particularly interested in "A Hunger to Help", about a pay-what-you-wish model to dining, and "The Price of Tomatoes", about the slave-like conditions in some Florida tomato farms.


Meatopia? Seriously?

To each his own, sure, but with last year's event titled "Slaughter of the Innocent", not gonna lie, I'm grossed out by this. Especially since you'd think organizations like Just Food and Slow Food NYC would want to be associate with something a bit more sustainable, and ethical, than a giant meat-fest.

Any NYC'ers know if there's a veggie version of this? If not, I think I have my mission, should I choose to accept it...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crunchy Bok Choy Salad

I love foods that crunch-  apples, warm tortilla chips, freshly picked green beans, cucumbers, radishes, you get the idea. I understand how strongly people can react to texture- I didn't eat mushrooms for the longest time because I'd always been served slimy button mushrooms- so if you love crunch, you'll love this salad!

I had some fresh bok choy in my fridge- one of my fave greens- and decided to create a crunchy salad with an Asian spin- bok choy leaves with their equally yummy stalks, crisp Asian pear, red onion, radicchio, and a lovely bunch of radishes that I picked up at the Greenmarket, though feel free to use daikon slices instead of radish slices. Bok choy is full of calcium and vitamins A and C, definitely worth adding to your list of healthy salad components!

Top with your fave salad dressing, or do as I did and whisk together a little lime juice, ground ginger, mint, and olive oil. It won't make for a soggy salad & dressing mix- promise! :)

The Whats:

* 1 bunch bok choy, both stalks and stems chopped
* 1 small head radicchio, chopped
* half a medium red onion, sliced
* 1 Asian pear, peeled and diced
* 1 bunch radishes, sliced

The Hows:

1) Layer bok choy stalks, bok choy leaves, red onion, radicchio, Asian pear, and sliced radishes in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together a dressing of olive oil, mint, ground ginger, and lime juice (add ingredients to your taste) and drizzle over salad. Serves 4.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May Events

There's TONS of stuff going on this month- any veggie will have a busy social calendar! Take pride in your ethical lifestyle, veggies & vegans, because the big thing this month is the annual Veggie Pride Parade!

Monday, May 3rd through Saturday, May 8th

Stamp Out Hunger- Contribute to one of the largest food drives in the nation. NYC residents can drop off non-perishable goods at their local post office and help stock the city's food pantries.

Tuesday, May 4th

International Respect for Chickens Day- Remind your omnivorous pals that just because they don't eat beef, they're not doing much better by "just" eating chicken! Watch the documentary "Fowl Play" (screening next weekend, conveniently enough!) and go veg!

Thursday, May 6th

"Viva Vegan" Launch Party- 7pm to 9pm at Mooshoes, 78 Orchard Street, free. Terry Hope Romero of Post-Punk Kitchen fame will be celebrating the release of her new book, Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers with treats and drinks from the book. Romero will be on hand to sign copies!

Saturday, May 8th

2nd Annual Slow Food New York City Harvest Time Conference- 1pm to 4pm at the Astor Center, 399 Lafayette Street, $10.  Harvest Time is a SFNYC program that brings food education into the schools of disadvantaged neighborhoods, and this conference is a day of networking and lectures for educators, parents, and advocates of good food in schools.

Monday, May 10th

Easy Vegan Baking- 6:30pm- 8:30pm at Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Center, 95 E. Houston Street, $25. A demo and hands on workshop with Dr. Kracker's George Eckrich- forget breads, I'm sold with the promise of vegan graham crackers!

Tuesday, May 11th

Green Drinks NYC- 6pm to 10pm at Terracycle's Green Shop, 641 8th Avenue, $10 advance/ $20 at the door. The well-known monthly eco-meetup features an open bar (score!) and pitches from people in green living, film, work, lifestyle, and more.

Friday, May 14th

Veggie Prom- 8pm at Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street in Park Slope; $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Kick off Veggie Pride weekend with a dance party- creative attire is of course encouraged! Free vegan desserts, cash bar, and vegan DJs keep the party going, while a raffle will benefit animal activist group, Mercy for Animals. Time to boogie!

Saturday, May 15th and Sunday, May 16th

37th Annual Ninth Avenue International Food Festival- 9:30am to 6:30pm from 42nd through 57th Streets.  As aptly calls it, a "16 block gastronomic extravaganza!" Local vendors will be serving up Greek, Polish, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Moroccan... maybe it's because I'm excited already, but I can't possibly list everything! Come hungry, because there will definitely be lots of vegetarian options to be found!

Saturday, May 15th

Fowl Play Screening- 11:30am to 1pm at Columbus Library, 742 10th Avenue, free. Join MFA for a free screening of the documentary, Fowl Play, followed by a presentation by United Poultry Concerns founder Karen Davis, PhD, about the social and secret life of chickens. Complimentary tofu scramble from Curly's Vegetarian Lunch will be served post-presentation.

Sunday, May 16th

3rd Annual Veggie Pride Parade- 11am lineup in the Olde Meat District at the intersection of Gansevoort, Greenwich, and Little West 12th Street; parade marches to Union Square North for a rally, costume contest, and expo featuring guitarist Leif Erich, George Eisman of the Coalition for Cancer Prevention Through Plant-Based Eating, keynote speaker Mickey Z, and founding director of the Viva Veggie Society, Pamela Rice. You're a loud and proud vegetarian/vegan, now go show it!

Monday, May 17th

Taste of the Nation- 8pm at the Grand Hyatt NYC, 109 E. 42nd Street, $275. Normally, I don't put down pricey benefits on the events list, but as a supporter of The Food Bank of New York and City Harvest, I'm adding this benefit. What do you get? Dishes from 50 of New York's top restos (including veg-friendly Dirt Candy, Rouge Tomate, ilili, and Tabla) and 80 different wines to sample, along with the knowledge that your dinner will help feed hundreds of hungry families in NYC.

Wednesday, May 19th

Spring Cleaning for Your Health- 6:30pm - 8:30pm, at Educational Alliance, 197 East Broadway, $18 advance registration required. A workshop on vegetables that cleanse your body and boost your immune system- and with all the spring veggies appearing at the market, I bet this workshop will have some great recipes too! RSVP to Les-Ann at 646-395-4081.

Saturday, May 22nd

Greenpoint Food Market- noon to 5pm at Church of the Messiah, 129 Russell Street, BK. Visit this monthly market for delicious, locally produced goods by BK foodies, including veggie sandwiches by Sandwich Friend, a vegan pate by Cobra Pate, and Regal Vegan catering.

Tuesday, May 25th

Celebrate Spring with Just Food- 7pm- 9pm at Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Center, 95 E. Houston Street, $25. Learn how to prepare fantastic seasonal dishes with the best of spring ingredients with Peter Berley, former executive chef of Angelica Kitchen. Proceeds from the evening will be donated to Just Food.

Tuesday, May 25th through Thursday, May 27th

The Eco Friendly Expo-  Preview: 4pm -8pm, show hours 9am to 5pm at 7W, 7 W. 34th Street, $10 pre-registration/$15 at door. A more boutique setting than the typical green expo, this event is a showcase of eco-friendly home accents, art, and design. The show also features a "Power of Green Lecture series" with established eco authors, demos, and seminars.

Thursday, May 27th

Vegan Drinks- 7pm to 9pm at Angels & Kings, 500 E. 11th Street. Drink and be very merry with fellow vegans at this monthly meetup!

Ongoing Saturdays in May

4 Course Vegan- location available to those who RSVP, $40. The concept is simple- bringing together both vegans and non-vegans for dinner and discussion at an underground dinner party in Williamsburg. Chef Matteo Silverman elevates the notion of vegan fine dining (check out the lush sounding menus!) and it sounds like a great way to meet other compassionate diners.